Monday, June 21, 2010

Queen of the Pirate Galaxy

The Clarion West workshop is on!  As you recall, I've pledged to write one podcast script or piece of flash fiction for every one of the 42 days the students are slogging away.  Plus, for a very modest contribution, I'll Tuckerize either you or your friend of choice into a short-short, which I'll then post for all the world to see and admire.

Here's the first, which Kate Schaefer commissioned for a certain friend of hers:

Queen of the Pirate Galaxy
Michael Swanwick

One day, Pat Cadigan snapped.  She’d seen one too many websites selling pirated downloads of her books and decided that the time had come to take action.  It wasn’t difficult for her to break the pathetic security measures the pirates had taken, identify them, hack into their bank accounts, and one by one pauperize the lot.  But it also wasn’t sufficiently satisfying.  So she bought a few dozen airline tickets and spent an invigorating and blood-soaked month making clandestine visits to hobo camps and homeless shelters around the world.

Thus it was Cadigan’s strange fortune to be in possession of a great deal of money and a very good reason to get off the planet the day that Keely Motors announced the invention of the hypersuperluminal drive.  She bought the first ship that came off the assembly line.  For no better reason than that she liked its looks, she headed for the barred spiral galaxy NGC 1300.

Everybody knows the strange events in prehistory which led to the human colonization of the entire universe.  Since she was the first off Earth in millennia, however, Cadigan was astounded to find her galaxy was full of people.  And then she learned that (for reasons we today understand all too well) her novels had preceded her and were being sold by the billions on every populated planet there was.

With not a penny of the profits going to her.

Cadigan had spent all her money buying a ship faster and hotter than anything in NGC 1300.  She had no choice but to become a freebooter.  Within a year, she was the scourge of the space-lanes.  Within two, she owned a fleet of pirate ships.  Within ten, she owned the galaxy.

Recently, a sycophantic reporter was granted an interview with the great lady on one of her pleasure planets, where she was taking a brief respite from planning the takeover of several neighboring galaxies.

“Most people would find it difficult enough running a single planet, much less a galaxy,” the reporter gushed.  “And yet you obviously intend to conquer the entire universe.  However do you manage?”

“You think this is tough?” Cadigan snarled.  “Try making a living writing!”


No comments: